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I Think I Messed Up! What Would You Do?

  1. Apr 15, 2012 #1

    lisab

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    I witnessed something today that revealed a gender stereotype in me. I'd like to know what PFers think about it.

    I was home in my apartment -- I live on the third story on a street that leads to a park. Today was beautiful and there was quite a bit of traffic going to the park, both cars and pedestrians. My windows were open despite the increased traffic noise.

    I heard a commotion outside. It was a young couple having an argument. The woman was pushing a stroller with a kid who was maybe a year old. She was having a complete meltdown, a world-class temper tantrum. Her shrieking escalated, but the young man did nothing but stand there.

    I kept watching, feeling guilty about it, but it was like watching a train wreck. This woman was nuts!

    Eventually she tried to kick him!! I couldn't believe it! He would evade, but he did not try to get away or strike back, or try to stop her. She made several attempts, but never got him. It went on for a while, until she eventually calmed down and they moved on together.

    I went back to what I was doing (dishes :grumpy:), thinking about them. Mostly I was feeling so very sorry for the kid in the stroller :frown:, being raised in that sad situation.

    Suddenly I realized, what if their genders had been switched? If I had seen a male trying to kick a woman, I would have called the police! I was really embarrassed to realize I had this bias. Intellectually I know domestic abuse can go in both directions, and both are absolutely wrong. But as I saw it happen - a woman attacking a man - I didn't think to report it.

    What would you have done?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 15, 2012 #2
    Interesting.

    I would have likely done the same as you. I would have stereotyped the guy into the "he must have done something deserving" catagory and ignored the situation. In hindsight, if it did go on for a great deal of time the best thing to do would have probably been to call the police.

    I mean, suppose she is a horrible person. Lets forget for a moment that they (presumably) have a child. A witness account of domestic violence against him could help him in the future, say, in court or something. Since men are largely discriminated against in such cases.

    Of course, I'm probably wrong too.
     
  4. Apr 15, 2012 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    Is it that or the perception that she doesn't pose a credible threat?

    I would tend to default to the no-threat position unless there was clear evidence otherwise. But what would concern me, after a moment of thought, is the well being of the child, not the husband.
     
  5. Apr 15, 2012 #4

    Astronuc

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    lisab, it's hard to know exactly what to do in such situations, or if and when to get involved. Even if the police had been called, chances are the couple would have left the scene.

    Don't fret about it.


    In grad school, there was troubled couple living next door.

    One night, the woman came running out of the apartment screaming followed by the man who was chasing her while carrying their child. I simply yelled at the point where I thought they was going to strike the woman. He paused and told me to mind my own business, and the woman was acting nutty.

    At least they calmed down, such that I felt the child was not endangered.
     
  6. Apr 15, 2012 #5

    lisab

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    I wasn't thinking that maybe he deserved it, at all. I was just amazed at watching this woman, supposedly an adult (albeit a young one), have a tantrum like a 3-year-old.

    I might add, *nothing* he could have done would warrant a physical attack.
     
  7. Apr 15, 2012 #6

    lisab

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    At no time did I feel the child was in danger, physically. Sadly, the child was the furthest thing from the minds of either of them :frown:.

    Of course, being raised by people with the maturity of children can't be good.
     
  8. Apr 15, 2012 #7

    Astronuc

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    I've seen adults - both male and female - have tantrums and behave like children (2 yr olds). Some people never mature.

    A few years ago, there were two guys going at each other on the side walk below my office, and some time before that, two women going at each in the street, although a police officer just happened along in the middle of that.
     
  9. Apr 15, 2012 #8

    DaveC426913

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    It sounds to me like it was obvious, even from your vantage point, that the guy had the situation in-hand - that he was aware he was not threatened in any way he wasn't able to handle. He didn't run away, he simply side-stepped. In other words, the situation presented in a way that made it fairly clear intervention was not required.

    True, I have a hard time imagining the roles reversed - watching a man try to assault a woman and the woman feeling no threat. But the point remains - it's not a gender difference at issue - it's an assessment of real threat.
     
  10. Apr 15, 2012 #9

    lisab

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    That's a really good point. I never felt he was physically threatened.
     
  11. Apr 15, 2012 #10
    That's a tough one. Well, as you noted, the kid didn't appear to be in danger, and the guy was just evading, so I suppose I would have done what you did.

    And then worried over it. As you did. :smile:

    Regarding the gender reversal consideration ... yeah, I think that would be more alarming to most anybody -- because guys are generally bigger and stronger and have the potential to inflict much more physical damage.

    Witnessing that sort of situation (with the male throwing the tantrum), then I would, as I suppose you would, probably call the police to diffuse it. Of course, I'm an elderly guy, so I might first have scurried down to the street to try to diffuse the situation, being nice to everybody and explaining that I was just concerned.

    Anyway, the important thing is that you're concerned and I'm sure would have done whatever you could if the situation warranted it. So, no need for you to feel the least bit guilty, imho.
     
  12. Apr 15, 2012 #11

    chiro

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    Hey lisab.

    To be honest I wouldn't be too hard on yourself for thinking you are biased, because we all biased in some way and all biases will be judged in terms of 'positive' and 'negative'.

    One thing that you have done that many do not do is that you have acknowledged your bias. Just doing this one thing alone is the catalyst for getting people not only aware of others but of themselves.

    It's interesting though the kind of bias you have said because it turns out that some of the more deceptive folk use this in situations to create a scenario that has been so distorted as to imply a situation that is a total polar opposite of the reality.

    As an example if you go to say a place like Italy in the southern part which has more poverty, you might find yourself in a situation where someone throws you a baby and while you are trying desperately to not only catch it but to make sense of the gravity of what just happened, another person has run off with your purse.

    Now the thing that really agravates these situations comes from the social norms we are either indoctrinated into by our schools or education system or by our parents and associated community.

    It's important to acknowledge this also because this contributes to our biases and if we have been taught all our life that is something is right/wrong or otherwise contradictory or contrary to our own belief, then this is an agonizing situation for anyone to be in this situation.

    It's akin to believing something for whatever reason and then being told that it was all a lie and that is a hard thing to go through. Think of the situation where a mother is told that their son has been a serial killer for ten years: they just don't want to believe it especially if nothing has been done to hint the idea that this is happening.

    The beauty of this world is that we get to experience all of this and put it in perspective, but to do this you need to acknowledge an alternative viewpoint and unfortunately not many people do this.
     
  13. Apr 16, 2012 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    Lisab, I doubt that I would have done anything. However, my thought was that if the woman is acting out violently in a public setting [or any setting for that matter], she clearly has control problems and could be an unfit or even a dangerous mother. A visit from family services probably would be a good idea.
     
  14. Apr 16, 2012 #13

    Lisa!

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    Well, maybe that's because we think men arephysically stronger than women and are able to fend themselves.:uhh:
     
  15. Apr 16, 2012 #14
    If I see a woman who hits her male partner, I think that he's in no danger and if he became sick of the "abuse" he could just leave the relationship.

    If I see a man who hits his female partner, I think her mental and physical health are in danger, and she could possibly be intimidated and scared to leave the relationship.

    Men can take care of themselves.
     
  16. Apr 16, 2012 #15

    Borg

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    From his actions, it seems that he has dealt with this before. Some people love drama. It would be interesting to know what the screaming was about. Maybe her Starbucks was out of grande cups?
     
  17. Apr 16, 2012 #16
    That *is* biased thinking. Abuse of the male partner in relationships happens, too (and is quite likely underreported compared to abuse of females for exactly that reason).
     
  18. Apr 16, 2012 #17
    I agree with DaveC426913, and on both points.
     
  19. Apr 16, 2012 #18
    I m just a little guy, I weighed myself this morning, only 150!

    I'm like girl sized.

    Good thing I'm a man though, so I can take [care] of myself. :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  20. Apr 16, 2012 #19
    I'm a man, and I could probably get my *** whooped by another man, and probably plenty of women as well. I think your logic is a bit faulty in regards to "man = able to take care of himself"
     
  21. Apr 16, 2012 #20

    lisab

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    I agree.

    It's true that men are generally larger and stronger than women, but that does *not* mean it's OK for a woman to hit a man.
     
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